Music Law 101: Copyright Infringement And Fair Use

As we have previously discussed, the owner of the copyright in a work has certain exclusive rights in that work. Anyone who violates the exclusive rights of the copyright owner is an infringer of that copyright.

To establish copyright infringement, you must establish that you own a valid copyright in the work and that:

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Music Law 101: Transfer Of Copyright And Termination

As we have previously discussed, a copyright is first owned by its author (whether individually or on a “work made for hire” basis). Like with any other property, the author can transfer ownership of a copyright (in whole or in part as a fractional portion) to another person or party. However, copyright law has specific rules governing such transfers.

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Music Law 101: How Long Does Copyright Protection Last?

Once a copyright is created, protection generally lasts for 70 years after the death of the author and in some cases 95 years from publication or 120 years from creation. That’s a long time! After that time, the copyright protection ceases and the underlying work becomes public domain.

More specifically, the term of copyright under the Copyright Act depends on when the work was created, as follows:

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Who Writes The Songs? The Sometimes Murky Business of Crediting Songwriters

The process of crediting songwriters has always been somewhat tricky, but in today’s collaborative-driven songwriting culture it’s more important than ever before. Everything from songwriting collaboration software to trends increasingly favoring artists who feature one another in their work makes the process of properly crediting songwriters hugely important and often complicated.

RebeccaWho Writes The Songs? The Sometimes Murky Business of Crediting Songwriters
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Music Law 101: What Rights Does A Copyright Owner Have?

So you’ve already written and recorded a song and determined who owns it, but now what can you as an owner do with it? What rights in the song do you have, that no one else does?

The owner of the copyright in a work has certain exclusive rights in that work, rights that no one else but the owner has, including the rights to:

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Music Law 101: Who Owns The Copyright In A Song?

After your band has written and recorded a song, who actually owns the song? This simple question does not necessarily have a simple answer. How many people were involved in the writing process? Were there other people involved in the recording process? Did you hire a producer? Did you use other background vocalists or musicians in the studio? Did you use “work made for hire” agreements with individuals involved in the process? Do you have a band agreement? The answers to these and other important questions help determine who actually owns the copyrights in any given song.

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Music Law 101: What Does Copyright Law Protect?

We are pleased to introduce a new blog series. Music Law 101 will be a recurring bi-weekly series consisting of posts covering a wide variety of legal topics relevant to artists, musicians, songwriters, producers, and others in the music industry. Topics will include information on copyright law, trademark law, the right of publicity, laws relating to agents and managers, and music contract law.

With the Music Law 101 series, we intend to break down legal jargon to make the concepts useful to you as you create, perform, and distribute music. We want to help you Protect Your Music and Protect Yourself.

RebeccaMusic Law 101: What Does Copyright Law Protect?
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